26° 47.180' N
80° 00.960' W
April 08, 1968
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM TRAINING
The yacht Mizpah was originally built as the Savarona by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in 1926 at a cost of $1.3 million for James Elverson, Jr., owner of the daily newspaper Philadelphia Inquirer. The beautiful vessel was 185 feet in overall length, 27 feet in beam, and had a cruising range of 7,000 miles. The vessel's name originated from a reference in the Bible, Genesis 31:49, which states: ”And Mizpah: for he said, the Lord watch between meand thee, when we are absent from one another."
Upon Elverson’s death in 1929, Eugene F. McDonald, Jr., President of the Zenith Radio Corporation, bought the graceful yacht to serve as his home and floating laboratory in Chicago. Renamed the Mizpah, the 549‐ton yacht was the largest pleasure boat on the Great Lakes at the time. In the 1930s, she took part in numerous adventures, including polar expeditions, a treasure hunt in Costa Rica, as well as a mysterious scientific cruise to the Galapagos Islands. In 1937, McDonald equipped the yacht’s Marconi room with ”the most powerful new radio marine telephone installation in existence, practically twice as powerful as those found on the large ocean liners ‘60.” The radio phone could perform both ship-to-ship and ship-to‐shore calls in the same manner as a long distance land call. Eugene McDonald turned over the Mizpah to the US. Navy for war service in March 1942. The yacht was converted at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, which included the addition of armament in anticipation of her duty as a patrol craft. She was commissioned into the US. Navy as the U.S.S. Mizpah (FY‐29) on October 26, 1942. Following the end of World War II, she was sold to H.O. Merren and Company of Roatan, Honduras, and probably employed as a coastal freighter. The Mizpah eventually ended up in Tampa with a broken crankshaft and became a derelict, destined for the scrap yard. In 1967,
Eugene Kinney, Eugene McDonald's nephew and current vice‐president of Zenith, learned of the Mizpah's plight and purchased her. Due to the impracticality of repairing her though, Kinney donated her to the US. Army Corps of Engineers for use as an artificial reef associated with a marine science study. With her upper deck razed, she was scuttled off Palm Beach on April 8, 1968.
The wreck sits upright in 90feet of water with her bow pointing north, though portions of the hull have collapsed due to the impact of numerous hurricanes. Penetration into the hull is easy, though divers may have to share the interior with several large Goliath grouper that have taken up residence within the wreck. Visibility can be excellent since the wreck rests north of the inlet, though Visibility can be greatly influenced by an outgoing tide, especially when outflow from Lake Okeechobee is significant. The wreck rests along an artificial reef corridor with the PC‐ 1174, the Amaryllis, and a barge, all of which are connected by a trail of rock and concrete. With a gentle north current, divers can easily drift over all the wrecks on one dive.